Most of you who read my blog know me in real life and already know my connection to lacrosse. I’ve played most of my life, including a crazy college career that I wouldn’t trade for anything. When I graduated and started the 9-5 thing, I missed the game, and in 2009 I left my job to get my MFA in writing. I went to Seton Hill University, which had an amazing program in popular fiction, and a graduate assistantship for me to coach lacrosse.
Our first season was rough. Coach T had just taken over the team, and she was the first “real” coach the team had ever had. We had players who’d never played lacrosse before, and if they won two or three games a season it wasn’t too awful. We couldn’t run a zone defense, or a clear press…we were just trying to catch the ball.
In 2010 we told the freshmen, just wait until you’re seniors. If everyone keeps working like this, the team will be amazing. That was our first winning season.
I graduated in 2011. Soon after, Coach Kristina Quigley took over the team. Under her guidance 2013 was shaping up to be the greatest year yet.
I was heartbroken when I heard about the crash. I know those girls. I coached them, recruited them, and kept following their stats after I left the team. After the shock, when I could stop shaking and crying, I stared at my computer for a numb few hours, waiting for more news. Who else was hurt?
I’m so thankful that it wasn’t worse. Even though I didn’t know Coach Quigley well, I know she’d be thankful that her girls will recover from their bruises and broken bones. Losing Coach Quigley won’t be healed so easily.
It’s a tragedy to lose such a caring woman, dedicated coach, and mother.
I’m sad for the girls for so many reasons. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and losing some or all of their season makes it that much worse. It’s trivial really, when you consider what could’ve happened, but I think the world deserves to know how hard these girls—and especially the seniors, Morgan, Rachel, Kate, and Alec—have worked. You would’ve seen all that effort on their scoreboards this year.
It’s amazing to see the lacrosse community rally around Seton Hill. It proves how tightly knit we are in the sport, and how compassionate. Too often, lacrosse receives negative attention. Go to the Play for Seton Hill Facebook page and tell me these aren’t wonderful people. It’s run by players from another school, and programs all over the country are wearing red and gold ribbons, and donating to Gavin Quigley’s scholarship fund. These are the same programs that will play games to raise money for suicide awareness, breast cancer, autism, and other charities, but no one ever hears about that.
This sport is full of amazing people.
To the girls at Seton Hill: I’m so proud of you. Always have been.
You’ve overcome so much to get where you are today…remember the tornado that hailed golf balls on our practice? Or in May 2010, that first time so many of you saw New York City, and we were on the verge of another tragedy. All of those morning practices in the snow when you were exhausted and your hands were half-frozen to your sticks. Shoveling the turf. Losing games that came so close. Winning after more overtimes than we could count.
You are so strong. You can keep going.
I can’t play for you anymore, but I will write for you. I added this to my lacrosse book. You know? The one I already stole all of your names for? Someday I’ll finish it and show the world this amazing lacrosse family of ours.